Snake Chain Necklace in IP Yellow Gold Stainless Steel (18 in, 1.5 mm, 5.9 g)
is among the most advanced surface finishing processes in the trade. With traditional plating methods, the gold surface coat can rub off rather easily over time, revealing the base metal. Ion plating, however, adds a greater durability to the surface metal, making the piece more wear resistant. Ion plated jewelry has been found to have up to eight times better wear and corrosion resistance over other more conventional plating methods.
Rather than a simple dipped or "wet" process for applying the surface metal, ion plated settings receive a negative charge under vacuum pressurization to essentially bond the surface and base metals on an atomic level, aligning the electrons of the two substances. Unlike basic electroplating, ion plating deposits layers of the surface metal atom-by-atom or molecule-by-molecule to ensure a lasting bond.
The thickness of the overlay applied to a setting varies because different pieces are subject to different expectations of wear. For example, a ring on your hand typically sees more wear and tear than a pendant around your neck does. Trade standards require that the thickness of the surface metal be substantial enough to assure durable coverage of the base metal to which it has been affixed.